I had a happy childhood, complete with a farm, animals, grandparents, siblings and cousins. I have wonderful parents. I grew where I was planted, I've thrived in the Southern soil ... a slightly different sort of bloom from those around me, although I certainly had a kindred spirit or two on that journey. I didn't really feel the difference until I was in Jr. High ... even then, I couldn't pin-point exactly what it was. I just knew that I didn't feel like I belonged there and dreamed of the day I would escape that small town.
I probably was weird by most standards of that small, rural Tennessee town, but not because I suffered from some behavioral or personality flaw. I was smart. I liked unusual things - music, art, reading, writing. I loved books and often read encyclopedias for fun. I was hungry for knowledge. I had terrible self-esteem.
In High School, I began a journey of realization centered around religion, moral perspectives and self-loathing that continued throughout college and beyond. Strangely enough, a series of bad break-ups, bouts of depression and major regret lead me down a path of self-discovery and finally, to a place of peace with who I am, where I came from, and where I wanted to be.
I learned to find happiness in myself and not outside myself. I stopped longing to escape the place that had always been my home. My confidence grew, I developed some standards and eventually, met my husband.
I am very fortunate to have met Big Spoon - our world views, values, priorities and humor are simpatico ... I don't believe in soul mates, but he's probably the closest thing to it I'll ever find. Every time I get mad at him (no matter if it be a big or small matter), I can always bring myself out of it by remembering how much it means to me that he chose me - in spite of my flaws, my background, our differences, my strangeness. He loves me. He knows everything about me. Cliché as it sounds, he's all I ever hoped for and more.
I've never lived anywhere but right here in Tennessee, so leaving is incredibly hard. Working through all these belongings and knowing that in just seven short weeks, I'll be saying goodbye to all I've ever known ... well, that's exciting and terribly sad at the same time.
I'm thankful to have had this time here - to have been born and raised here - and all things considered, I'm glad that I stayed. My birthday next week is more than a milestone now. It's the beginning of a whole new chapter in a brand-new place.